Our corporate mission
With the arrival of franchising (in 1994) and all the organizational requirements that came with it, our family welcomed many new talents to the fold. It became obvious that we needed to clarify our mission, values and goals in order to communicate them more formally to the new corporate team in training. With the help of a highly regarded consultant in corporate missions, we began to work on defining the principles that would guide all our decisions, the voice that would animate our communications and especially, the direction we wanted to take as we moved forward.
These very serious meetings took place once a day each month for a whole year.
It was almost sheer madness for me to focus on this type of work when our resources were still modest. That’s why I didn’t tell the children that each monthly meeting with Mr. R.S. cost us $3,000.
“They’ll find out about it later,” I said to myself. After all, we knew that our payroll was going to increase dramatically with the arrival of three franchising specialists: our first-ever Marketing Director, a well-known franchising expert as our Director of Operations and a young controller from an accounting firm.
Even then, every cent we spent had to be “worth its weight in gold.” And I was quite willing to risk everything to make our future in franchising as solid as a rock. Even before we granted our first franchise, I had read everything that had been published in Quebec on the subject. I was ready and we needed strong leadership.
This meant coming up with a COMPANY MISSION, a statement just like those big companies that I read about in the library of the HEC (Montreal’s business school). Besides, we were all working hard at that time and a little brainstorming wouldn’t do us any harm.
With the children and our close collaborators around the table, we held very animated sessions led by Mr. R.S. I led the charge, opposing the kids’ overly ambitious goals from time to time. I was likely just trying to curb their enthusiasm so I could finally appear right on various issues in front of the consultant.
After spending the first four or five meetings telling our story, stating our values, agreeing on the definition of words and the substance of goals, we began to pin down exactly what we wanted.
Mr. R.S. wrote dozens of sentences on a large blackboard before we managed to formulate one that encapsulated the goal that we were going to dedicate all our efforts to. It was around the seventh meeting that we agreed on the statement that would be ad vitam aeternam the beacon guiding our business development:
CORA IS A COMPANY COMMITTED TO BEING THE INTERNATIONAL LEADER IN BREAKFAST SERVICE BY OFFERING ITS CUSTOMERS TOP-QUALITY FOOD AND SERVICE IN A WARM FAMILY ATMOSPHERE.
Yes, the kids insisted on the word INTERNATIONAL instead of “national,” arguing that they had their whole lives ahead of them. Covering Canada would have been more than enough for me!
This corporate mission may seem trivial today, but 30 years on, we are still focused on the breakfast segment. You can’t be the best at everything, and this strong commitment to breakfast gastronomy has allowed us to excel at it. We’ve often been tempted by the possibility of extending our hours of operation to offer dinners, but we have remained faithfully committed to our specialty and our corporate mission.
The same goes for our commitment to high-quality food and service. We have never lowered our standards for quality meat, fresh fruit and original "homemade" products made specially for our chain. Think of the uniqueness of our custard, hollandaise sauce, vanilla syrup, cretons and delicious pancake mixes. To serve the best breakfasts, we must be committed to serving high-quality food.
As for customer service, our restaurant employees excel at it. They are multilingual, resourceful, dynamic and professional. They are the ones who, along with our franchisees, maintain the warm family atmosphere that fills each one of our restaurants. Our customers have always been the most important people in the world to us. Coming from all cultures, they care about their well-being and that of their environment.
Together we celebrate life, love and family.
Everything was included in this simple sentence representing our CORPORATE MISSION. A strong positioning as a category leader. A bold goal that would force us to conquer all of Canada, and venture even further. Everything was there, even the warm family atmosphere that can be felt not only in our restaurants, but in our interactions and conversations, at the distribution centre and head office, and most of all, in the hearts of every single person working to bring our corporate mission to life each day.
I remember, after posting our corporate mission everywhere, it was as if an unusual force then led wonderful franchisees to us, new establishments, favourable media articles and awards recognizing our performance. The more we cherished our mission, the more faithful we were to it and the more our nascent network grew.
And YES, something magical does happen when intentions align during the creative process. Whether you are writing a poem or book, building a business or touring the world, this deep-seated reason for your venture, the mission statement, is like a thread that guides you to your destination. Try it and see for yourself. Start a project with a very clearly defined goal, and put it in writing if possible. You will feel the magic operating within you as you align everything you do with that goal.